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    For the sake of identity, and the chance that my mother chooses to join this site, I’m going to go by Tilly.

    When my eldest sister turned 18, my mother and stepfather felt it was a right of passage for her to go to the casino. Before that my parents never went gambling, except for my father, who went once in awhile with his old buddies. After going with my older sister, my mother slowly started to go a lot more. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but it got worse and worse, to the point of my mother asking me for money. I had always been willing to help my family out, since I knew that we didn’t have a ton of money, and with my stepfather’s business slowing down things got a little harder. My mother has always had a spending problem. She used to go shopping a lot, which I understand, since she loves fashion, and again I never viewed that as excessive, because she wouldn’t do it if she needed to pay for something else. She has never been very good with her money, between buying a house that we couldn’t really afford, to putting off her debt to the point of the money being taken out of her paycheck each time she gets one.

    My older sister just turned 23, so over the past 5 years my mother’s addiction has really affected my entire family, to the point of my sister’s constantly being angry with her and saying horrible things. I understand where they are coming from, but I also know that its an addiction, and sometimes my sister’s can be a little hotheaded, which is why my mother tends to talk to me about it. She’s tried to go to the local anonymous group, but she can’t bring herself to go through the door. She is ashamed. But she can’t stop herself.

    Gambling isn’t her first addiction. She has been smoking for a very long time, and although trying to quit multiple times she hasn’t been able to stop. I’ve always told her that I know her decisions are hers, and that I don’t understand what she’s going through, because I don’t, however I have a really hard time not helping her when she needs help and I can afford to help her.

    My mother makes a very good salary, and so it doesn’t really make sense why she should be struggling, but I think she also suffers from depression. Both my sister’s and I have all been diagnosed with it, and my mother shows signs of having it as well, but won’t admit to it. When I confront her about her gambling, she always replies saying, “I don’t say anything about your addictions,” and excuses like that, trying to excuse her behavior by pushing it on to me. When I ask her to elaborate on what she thinks my addictions are, but she won’t tell me, which makes me believe she doesn’t actively think I have any, she’s just using it as an excuse.

    What triggered me to finally join a support site was that I lent my mother some money to help pay for something for my step dad, who just had a major surgery and needed medical equipment. Now, most people would say that this was a mistake, but my mother doesn’t ask me for money and then go spend it on gambling right away, she spends it on what she needs to buy, but when she gets her paycheck she struggles with actually paying it back. She’ll tell herself that she hasn’t gone to the casino for awhile and deserves to go, but when she’s there she can’t stop. There have been a few times when I’ve gone with her, and I’ve sat next to her and told her we needed to leave, and she becomes very mean and aggressive. She would never hurt me, but she gets angry and starts to yell at me. I’ve learned to just not back down, even if its embarrassing with the people around us seeing the confrontation, but once we get in the car she’s dead silent, but once we’re gone its like the spell ends and she apologizes and says that she’s sorry, but it hurts me so much. I know she means she’s sorry but it just hurts knowing that her addiction comes before her love for me. My parents divorced when I was very young so I’ve always struggled with my relationships and trusting that other people love me as much as I love them, and I thought my mom was the one person who would always love me more than anything, but it makes me feel she doesn’t love me as much as she’s always said. And I know that’s not true and that its her addiction talking, but my mind immediately goes right to her not loving me, and that also has to do with my own depression and doubts. It always tears me to pieces too when she calls me and immediately says, “You’re going to hate me,” and when I ask her why she says, “because I’m a loser.” I always tell her I don’t hate her, and that she’s not a loser because I don’t hate her and she isn’t a loser. She can’t turn herself away from her addiction and I understand that, but her saying I would hate her is the FARTHEST thing from the truth because no matter what I love her. I always tell her I’m frustrated with her, but today she called and said all that to me, and told me she couldn’t pay me back. Luckily, when I got my last paycheck I took out money for rent, and so I have my rent covered for the month, but I realized how bad of a situation it could have been if I wouldn’t have done that a few weeks ago. This led me to here, and when I talked to my mother today I told her I couldn’t lend her money any more, even for the littlest thing, until she can show me she’s trying, because I can’t sacrifice my mental health for the sake of my mother, and as much as it hurts I know its the right decision.

    When I went through my bank account today, I went all the way back and counted up how much money I’ve lent her over the past two years, and it added up to almost 7k. She has paid about half of that back, but its always inconsistent so I’m constantly struggling, even though I have a decent job. I am a college student, so I don’t have a lot of money anyways, but if I never lent her any money I would be perfectly comfortable.

    My heart breaks knowing she gets so much criticism, and I think that also has to do with my family not always being the most objective group of people, but when I look at the broad spectrum I know she isn’t doing it to hurt any of us.

    No one around me really understands other than my family members, and my family members just get mad and judge. I don’t have any one to talk to, and I’m too embarrassed to tell my friends about it because I don’t want them to think my mother is a bad mom, because she’s not. She’s always supported my dreams, my personality, and has really helped a lot with my mental health issues. I can’t really trust that they’ll understand and I don’t want anyone’s pity or judgment towards myself or my mother, because that’s not what either of us deserve.

    If anyone has any idea of tactics or ways I can keep myself from giving her money or good ways to encourage her to seek help I’d really appreciate it.

    Also, sorry for all the rambling. When I get emotional I have a lot of run on sentences because I talk like I would in person if I was upset.

    Thanks, and I hope to talk to someone soon.




    Hello Tilly

    Thanks for starting a thread in the Gambling Therapy friends and family forum. This forum will provide you with warmth and understanding from your peers.

    Feel free to use the friends and family group, you’ll find the times for these if you click on the “Group times” box on our Home page. Now that you have introduced yourself you’ll find that many of the people you meet here have already read your initial introduction and they’ll welcome you in like an old friend 🙂

    If you’re the friend or family member of someone who is either in, or has been through, the GMA residential programme please take extra care to make sure that nothing you say in groups, or on our forums, inadvertently identifies that person. Even if your loved one isn’t connected with GMA, please don’t identify them either directly or indirectly just in case they decide to use the site themselves.

    You’ll find a lot of advice on this site, some of which you’ll follow, some you won’t…but that’s ok because only you fully understand your
    situation and what’s best for you and the people you love. So, take the support you need and leave the advice you don’t because it all comes from a caring, nurturing place 🙂

    We look forward to hearing all about you!

    Take care

    The Gambling Therapy Team

    PS: Let me just remind you to take a look at our

    privacy policy and terms and conditions so you know how it all works!


    Dear Tilly
    How glad I am that you felt strong enough to start a thread and talk about the things that are so painful to you.
    Knowledge of your mother’s addiction will give you power over it and help you cope. There is much to tell you but in my first reply I am going to concentrate on the words that jumped out on at me and that is whether your mother loves her addiction more than her children.
    I would not be writing to you Tilly if I didn’t know that the addiction to gamble can be controlled and fantastic, useful lives lived as a result. As a result of my CG changing his life I am able to pass on to you what I have learned from him. After 25 years of living with his addiction, I would not have believed it possible that my CG loved me and I would not have been able to tell you what my feelings were for him – he seemed determined to destroy my personality, my self-esteem and confidence. I didn’t know anything about his addiction, I believed the problem was me and to that end I saw counsellors, a psychiatrist and I was even tested for Alzheimer’s disease Even though I listed everything I was experiencing, not one of them recognised the addiction that I was living with. Living with your mother’s addiction makes your sister’s anger and your depression completely understandable.
    Following my CG’s decision and determination to change his life I have found a person that I can love and be proud of – and who loves and is proud of me. He has been able to talk about what was going on in his mind.. He explained that when I was pleading with him to tell the truth and live honestly, his addiction was distorting my words, convincing him that I was lying because he truly believed that he was an unlovable, worthless, failure – he was lost in a lonely world and fought back because he didn’t have any other coping mechanism. The addiction to gamble is an addiction that courts failure and no amount of words from me could make him feel less of a loser.
    I will leave it there for now but please keep posting because there is so much to learn that will help you. You have done a terrific thing coming here and your mother is very lucky to have you on her side, even if at the moment she doesn’t appreciate it. I have a Friends and Family group on Tuesdays between 20.00 – 21.00 hours UK time. It would be great to communicate with you in real time.
    In the meantime, look after yourself, you are very important and although you cannot save your mother you can make a difference.


    Thanks for sharing your story here.

    I just wanted to point out that a lot of GA (Gamblers Anonymous) groups have a Gamanon (family and friends support) group running at the same time in a different room at the same venue.

    Maybe, if this is the case where your Mom went, you could suggest that you go with your Mom, as a CG (Compulsive Gambler) I can understand your Moms hesitation in going through that door for the first time. However as with all support it will only work if your Mom seriously wants to stop gambling.

    Great that you’ve found this place, lets hope your Mom starts to look for support too.


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